CHILLY conditions could not stop Wattle Grove Speckle Park stud's annual fire and ice sale from being red-hot, reaching a $37,000 top.
A huge crowd of bidders from across the country gathered at the Toowoomba showgrounds, while many more followed the sale online via Elite Livestock Auctions, to get their hands on the 60 female lots and 60 genetics packages being offered by the Humphries family.
The sale got off to a cracking start as seven of the first eight females up for bids sold for more than $20,000.
In total, all 60 female lots offered at Saturday's sale were sold at an average of $10,867, while all 53 embryo packages sold to a top of $4000 and at an average of $2015, while seven special semen packages rounded out the sale, reaching a top of $27,000 and an average of $8671.
However, it was the eighth female in the catalogue, Charlie R161, that topped the sale when she was snapped up online by Celamba Speckle Park stud, Deepwater, NSW, for $37,000
The 20-month-old leopard-coloured daughter of Glengarry Storm Chacer and out of Wattle Grove K7 Utah N118, weighed 494 kilograms on sale day and was joined to the Wattle Grove R141 bull with a calf expected in January next year.
Wattle Grove Speckle Park stud principal Dale Humphries, Oberon, said the top seller was "a really neat package".
"She's from a great old donor that was part of the Codiak program, which we have used successfully over the past 12 years and that has given us longevity and a really solid pedigree," Mr Humphries said.
"I think the buyers knew that her grand dam was from that really solid pedigree, which drew them to her.
"As well as that, she is really quiet, is broken in and has been shown a few times, which I think really helped.
"She has got a lot of carcase qualities and her numbers are pretty good as well."
Charlie R161 only just took out the honour of being the sale's top seller, pipping the fourth female in the catalogue Stardust R121, which was knocked down to the Gotcha Speckle Park stud, Dumaresq Island near Taree, for $36,000 and the second female sold on the day, Miss Fancy R140, which was purchased online by an Ashford-based buyer for $34,000.
The three joined females were the first three lots to pass the $30,000 mark, until the 53rd female in the catalogue, Starbright S771, became the only unjoined female in the sale to pass the milestone when she was knocked down to Ivery Downs Speckle Park stud, Colinton, for $32,000.
As well as taking out the sale's top seller, Deepwater stud Celamba was also the day's most prolific volume buyer taking home 10 females at an average of $18,800.
Also among the female sale's volume buyers was Gotcha Speckle Park stud, which purchased three females at an average of $18,666 and Sweetacres Speckle Park stud, Peranga, which bought two females at an average of $23,500.
However, one of the sale's other most prolific buyers may have also travelled the furthest, as Black Diamond Speckle Park stud, Macorna, Victoria, purchased three females at an average of $23,333 and five embryo packages at an average of $2120.
"The pedigrees and phenotypes of the three we purchased are what really drew us to them and they were what we were looking for," Black Diamond Speckle Park stud principal Andrew Van der Drift said.
"At this stage, I don't think they are quite old enough for us to join them yet so we will let them grow out a bit and join them later.
"We calve all of our heifers out before we do any flushing, so they'll have to give us a calf first and then we'll look at them after that.
"We have bought from Wattle Grove before, but this is the first time we have attended this sale in person and I must say it really is quite a great experience."
At the conclusion of the female sale, two pens of five Brahckle heifers offered by Barry and Tracey Forde, Linthorpe, were sold for $3250 a head and $3000/hd respectively, while two drafts of five F1 mixed Angus-Speckle Park-cross cows offered by Monivae Pastoral Company, Tara, sold for $3500/hd, while a third pen sold for $3750/hd.
After the sale, an emotional Mr Humphries paid tribute to his team and his family for helping to bring the event together.
"We have been in the Speckle Park game for about 15 years now and we have met so many great people and made so many great friends along the way," he said.
"Honestly, we are just blown away by everyone's support and I want to give a big thank you to my family for all of their hard work putting this sale together, as well as all of the buyers and underbidders for making this sale such a success."
The live-auction sale was conducted by Goetsch and Sons, Kalbar, with Clint Donovan and Ryan Morris sharing the auctioneer duties.
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